Labour London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross AM has written to eBay and Ticketmaster calling on the companies to donate to charity any profits they made from reselling tickets for the publicly funded New Year’s Eve London fireworks. The call comes after tickets for the event were being offered on resale sites for up to £199 each, almost 20 times their original face value.
Last week’s event was the first where the iconic London NYE firework display were ticketed after the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson introduced the measure.
Despite the Mayor estimating that 500,000 people attended the fireworks in 2013 only 100,000 tickets were release for this 2014’s event leaving significant unmet demand. With the event wholly publicly funded after the Mayor failed to attract corporate sponsorship, Ms Twycross called on the two major ticketing companies, which own Getmein and Stubhub, to donate any profits they made to charities. In the letters to eBay and Ticketmaster sent prior to the event Ms Twycross wrote:
“As you will be aware this is a publicly organised and funded event costing taxpayers a significant amount of money, and this is the first year it will be ticketed. The tickets priced at £10 have now sold out; however they are still currently being re-sold on your sites at dramatically higher prices.
“Despite over 500,000 people attending last year, numbers for this year’s event have been capped at 100,000, this has left a significant amount of latent demand. While I appreciate it is legal for eBay to sell these tickets, I hope you will agree that it seems wrong that your company is profiting from a publicly funded celebration of this type, especially when poorer families who would previously have been able to attend for free are priced out.
“Given this event is wholly funded by taxpayers I would also urge you to consider donating any profit your company makes from the re-sale of these tickets to a worthy London charity. Whilst I would not want to make specific suggestions, given the time of year a homeless shelter or a London food bank may be good options.”
Commenting on the New Year’s Eve fireworks, London Assembly Labour Economic Spokesperson, Fiona Twycross AM said:
"We warned Boris Johnson months ago that ticket touting and reselling was going to be a major problem. Within days of tickets going on sale, resale sites were making a killing. After all the tickets sold out the problem only got worse. Given that the fireworks were entirely publicly funded it seems only right that resale companies should consider donating any profits they made from the event to charity.”